Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child for a Christmas gift, but never received?
(Originally posted Dec. 2014)
As a child, I couldn’t stand to wait until Christmas to learn what my gifts would be. I drove myself crazy with excitement and anticipation.
When I was about 8 years old, I decided I simply couldn’t stand it any longer. I had a good idea where my mother hid gifts. I was actually a good kid who obeyed rules, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
When I found the gifts, up high on a shelf in a closet, I remember being very, very happy and excited by what I saw. But I was careful not to climb up on a chair to touch or move anything. That way I was sure I wouldn’t be found out. I felt very clever in my deception.
Funny, but as I write this, I can’t remember what the gift was. I want to say it was a giant fire truck, which would have been in line with the kind of gift my father would give me, but at that age I was every bit the cliché little girl: I was heavy into Barbie dolls, playing dress-up, had dreams of being a ballerina and of owning a Palomino pony I would name Butterscotch. I can’t imagine I was excited about a truck, but whatever it was, I was thrilled to find it.
Christmas morning rolls around and nowhere under the tree is there a gift for me the size and shape of what I saw in the closet. We finished opening gifts, and I felt a bit frantic that the gift I saw hadn’t materialized. I decided to ‘fess up about sneaking a peek at the hidden gifts, and asked where the gift I saw was.
My mother gave me a wry smile I will never forget, as she proceeded to tell me she knew I had gone looking for the hidden gifts. She and my father decided to return that particular gift as my punishment for being naughty.
I was old enough to know pitching a fit was way out of line, primarily because I had been out of line in the first place, but I was nevertheless shocked and devastated. And mortified at being caught. To this day I am baffled how she knew I had gone looking for the Christmas gifts. Obviously, I was not as clandestine as I thought.
Years and years later, and now a grown adult, I was digging around in one of her closets for gift wrapping supplies. It was someone’s birthday and I hadn’t wrapped my gift. I stumbled upon my mother’s stash of various gifts; things she purchased throughout the year and put away until a birthday or Christmas came around. I was immediately catapulted back to that time I deliberately went looking for Christmas gifts and, even at my adult age, had a moment’s panic that I would once again be found out and punished for being naughty.
I never said a word about finding her stash, and feigned surprise when one of them did materialize as a Christmas gift for me. Maybe it was a little tit-for-tat on my part, but truthfully, it was more the fear of being found out that kept me from confessing I’d seen the gift months before. Trepidation of a parent’s scolding can stay with you, no matter how old you get.